IT players may cooperate in maintaining standards-based momentum.
As a member of eWEEKs editorial
, Ive been one of a group of voices thats jointly encouraged
the industry to keep the
Internet a patent-free zone
or at least, a fee-free zone, with
any patented technologies adopted on the Internet only on the grounds
that they become freely licensed to all users. Weve urged that vendors
to create proprietary
of standards-based technologies such as XML. Weve
warned against the hazards of abusing the patent process by claiming
the "invention" of the obvious
or the commonplacea practice
in my letter of just last week.
I regret to observe, therefore, that fundamental mechanisms of Web
services are now at risk of becoming patent-law
, potentially slowing whats been one of the most
successful transformations of application architecture and development
practice that weve seen in many years. A planned Dec. 6
auction by Commerce One
Santa Clara, California, has inspired a strange-bedfellows alliance that reportedly includes Google, Oracle, Sun, and others who may soon
contribute to a pool of funds that might be administered by the
in Mountain View, Calif. If successful in mounting the high bid at
the Commerce One bankruptcy-settlement sale, the group might then
effectively retire the
on basic Web services concepts.
Click here to read Peter Coffees Oct. 18 column entitled, "Web Services Edge Cuts Both Ways".
This forced sale comes, ironically, on the heels of continuing signs
that major IT players are actually capable of playing
nicely with each other
on the field of Web services, with vendors
such as Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and BEA demonstrating high-profile
cooperative efforts to persuade major buyers that Web services is a
worthy target for investment. Reminding us that success has a thousand
fathers, IT players in every part of the world are quick to assert
their Web services leadership
while key IT buyers such as the U.S.
Department of Defense cross critical thresholds in accepting Web
services as a real-time
Its additionally ironic to look back
to four years ago
, when Commerce One was very much enjoying its
place in the sun, and CEO Mark Hoffman talked about "a shakeout going
on." Hoffman was right, and was also right about the continuing
importance of working with a variety of operating systems rather than
targeting a Microsoft-only environmentand about the widespread
enterprise recognition of the need to find supply-chain economies. Web
services are the
example of choice
for those who assert the continued importance of
IT innovation and the need for continued growth of network capability
and developer productivity. The all-important question of whats the
"killer application" for Web services
continues to be asked, but
increasingly it is being effectively
by the synergetic mix of online offerings and ubiquitous
Lets hope that whatever happens on Dec. 6 doesnt turn out to
hinder that progress.
The eWEEK Excellence Awards for 2004 are now accepting entries.
The deadline for submitting entries is Jan. 31, 2005. For more
information go to www.excellenceawardsonline.com.
Put your own Web services issues on my radar at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.